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Saturday, November 23, 2013

Volcanopark Visitor Centre, Hungary

By Viktoria Szepvolgyi
Photography: Tamas Bujnovszky; courtesy Foldes Architects

The iconic Kemenes Volcanopark Visitor Centre,Hungary by Foldes Archiects
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The iconic Kemenes Volcanopark Visitor Centre, 200 km west of Budapest, is an eye-catching testimonial to a country that used to be volcanic some 5 million years ago...

Although Hungary, located in Central Eastern Europe, is not rich in active volcanoes, a national architectural contest announced in 2009 by the Celldomolk City Council, has resulted in the winning entry by Foldes Architects to be built on the chosen plot - a flat area between the city of Celldomolk and the 5-million-year-old Sag Hill, a former volcano.

The iconic Kemenes Volcanopark Visitor Centre,Hungary by Foldes Archiects
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“Instead of the straight translation of the brief, such as creating a volcano shaped museum building, we wanted to capture the true substance of the location. According to our concept, the raw materials, the homogeneous grey of the concrete, the lava inspired colour of the corten steel, and the flue-like arrangement of the space, deliver the spirit and essence of a volcano,” informs Laszlo Foldes, chief designer of Foldes Architects.

The iconic Kemenes Volcanopark Visitor Centre,Hungary by Foldes Archiects
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Upon entering the vast interior of the building, the visitor meets two engaging attractions. At first sight, the vertically open space captures the eye. Five floors above, a small window lets in a beam of light offering the ‘eruption’ point on the flat roof.

The iconic Kemenes Volcanopark Visitor Centre,Hungary by Foldes Archiects
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On the opposite side, the industrial materials of the fa├žade appear consistent with the interior: naked concrete walls, dark grey resin flooring, steel staircase and corridor, and the corten steel cubes also visible from the outside.

The varied height and location of bridges link the different sizes and positions of the corten boxes. These offer a range of functions, from screening rooms to interactive installations area, and present the fascinating history and typology of volcanoes.

The iconic Kemenes Volcanopark Visitor Centre,Hungary by Foldes Archiects
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The iconic Kemenes Volcanopark Visitor Centre,Hungary by Foldes Archiects
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To create a more refined interior, the exhibition texts are situated directly on the wall without any supporting board.

If you ever wanted to imagine walking through a cubist painting, this building is a great example of how it might feel to wander into Picasso’s Guernica. While passing below the red cubes, grey walls and bridges of the building, you have a real opportunity to comprehend the transience and vulnerability of human existence bracketed by such a formidable force of nature.

1 comment :

  1. Very interesting, the exterior building materials seem to mimic volcanic rock, if it is igneous, then it is even better. Interesting form and portions.

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